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C. The Scope of Architecture History.

     If architecture is an art which is bound to matter, it is undeniably that architecture is an artifact, art of built environment. It is Marvin Trachtenberg who divided method in the history of architecture into five methods and clearly stated one by one.

C.1. Architect's biography as a method.

     First is the study of history of architecture which is based on the biography of it's architect. He noted that in a sense, the least problematic as well as the most popular form of architectural publication in recent years. The most important thing that biography is a genre that encourages, indeed, depends upon study of interaction between the subject and its context. Thus it leads itself to the successful production of books in general about architects and has proven a perfect medium for exploring the contextual process. Then he gave a list of famous architects such as Le corbusier, Aalto, Jefferson, Leonardo, and other names(3)

     One of the best architect biography published in Belgium is Marc DESSAUVACE 1931-1984, this book was written with very connection between one building to another building in a very timid explanation and an exposing the tradition and culture of Belgium. One of the contributor, Luc VERPOST wrote:

     "Without modernism at a time when the tendency of the qualification in the intellectual silence and the solitude, Marc Dessauvage have defined themselves and architecture.".(4)

C.2. The single building monograph as a method.

     Second is the single building monograph, a study about one single building until detail for instance study on the cathedral of Cologne by Arnold WOLFF and was translated by Magaret MARANUK-ROHMEDER. The book explained how this big church develop from the earliest time until nowadays, and its pages full of rethoric sculpture of the cathedral.(5)   For the single building monograph TRACHTENBERG  criticizes that if the tendency of architect biography monograph is to get lost in biographical detail, that of the building-monograph is to get mired in architecture detail at the neglect of the world that produce it.(6)            

     One of the most interesting single building monograph is Le corbusier Firminy Church. This book is not only explaining its detail, its structure, and other physical aspect but also the process of which Le Corbusier could get an almost perfect design. Such single building monograph is such a useful dissertation type, forcing the student to deal with historical architecture in its full dimensions.(7)

     Another interesting single monograph is an essay by collaborator of Peter BUCHANAN, Liana LE FAIVRE, Alexander TZONIS on ESTE (European Space Research and Technology Centre), at the north coast of the north sea in Noordwijk Holland. The book clearly explains the design process to its construction. Its new material and its new technology open a new possibility for architects to be more creative with bounded element just like what Hegel's idea infront.

     But the very progressive critique is that this historical architecture book (for single building monograph) is always out in the context of urban design as a whole, it neglect the city as mayor inspiration of history. Such books according to TRACHTENBERG is in good company seeking to understand ideologically changed, even propagandistic, architectural monument in terms of processions, theatrical presentations and their associated ephemera, "A kind of text, in the reviewer's words that has become something of an industry"(8)

C.3. Method on Building Type.

     The book about the building type is not a new one, Durand (1760-1834) could be called as the father of building type thinking. Although it is very different new building type thinking nowadays, but it is still noted as an important part in architectural history. The raising of Napoleon II and his powerful state, not only palace and fortification should be built, but also civil building such as hospitals, schools, markets , etc. Grand Durand was in charged to design them and he called a new architecture concept "Type"  based on cost neither function nor symbolic meaning.(9)

     But now the type is not developed based on the cost like Durand did, but it is developed according to both needs and aspirations to beauty. A particular type was associated with a form and a way of life, although its specific shape varied widely from society to society the concept of type thus became the basic of architecture. A fact attested to both by practice and by treatises, Aldo Rossi defined type as something that is permanent and complex, a logical principal that is prior to form and that constitute it.(10)

     If Aldo ROSSI stressing more that type is something to do with more architectural perception more over his argumentation that a nucleus of the city artifact is the history of architecture by itself. In rather different point of view, TRACHTENBERG said that type is highly interpretative treatment of architecture that is strong on social history, but unfortunately he did not explain any further.(11)

     Today the scope of type is not only concerning the type of building, but also the type of streets, plazas, corners, and other exterior space which is included as urban space, and become a basic idea of urban analysis for European, One of famous books about this is "Urban Space" by Rob KRIER.

C.4. Styles and periods as a method.

     This method is very  abstract and closely related to beauty. But what is a style or a period?  TRACHTENBERG said that we tend to take both notions for granted in our practice rather than grasp it for knowing better.(12)

     Related to beauty it is very relative, Roger SCRUTON defined beauty as a consequential thing, a product of solving problems correctly. It is unreal as a goal. Preoccupation with aesthetics leads to arbitrary design, to building which take a certain form because designer likes the way it looks. No successful architecture can be formulated on a generalized system of aesthetics.(13)

     The emphasis on aesthetic appeared in the stylistic school it perceived the designed product not as answers to functionalist problems but as aesthetic creation asking only to be looked and appreciated early studies in this tradition  endowed artistic creation with power all its own. In order to account for variety among design products, the amateurs of fine objects claimed that a style developed in cycles, that it "blossomed" and "withered" like a plant.(14)

       But style and period are only a part of a grand history of architecture. Sure it can be related to socio-economic of a certain period bit it lacks connection of the whole built environment where style and period should stay on. Discussion on the history of architecture which is restricted to style and period, makes the history of architecture become a static study.

C.5. Urbanism as a Method.

     The last one is history of architecture concerning the whole urban (city). TRACHTENBERG noted that urbanism is at present among the most challenging fields of architectural study.(15) In the method of the history of architecture we can not discuss only one single building, one architect, one building type, or one style and period. Everything should be connected one to another in the city/urban level. A city should be seen as a gigantic man made object, a work of engineering and architecture that is large and complex and growing overtime, Aldo ROSSI said that the city is in itself a repository of history.(16)

     The main cause of this disparity of approach does not reside in any conceptual difficulty unique to cities rather it steams from the ingrained practices of conventional urbanism and architectural history, which traditionally have run on separate tracks. When approaches through the history of its impact, the work of art change its nature, and art itself ceases to be a province with the secure boundaries. As the century progressed, the historical realities breached the sphere of individual work of art and began to shift the boundaries of art itself.(17) Architectural history developed from concern with archeology, engineering, visual form, symbolic meaning and other preoccupation with individual buildings, to the centre piece of the architecture of the city.

Old Bridge Florence